If you can clean & jerk your bodyweight, you’re no longer a novice at Olympic weightlifting. If you clean & jerk double your bodyweight, depending on how much you weigh, you’re likely approaching advanced.
Advanced sounds like you’re more or less finished with increasing your strength, but then there’s the elite of the elite: the very, very exclusive club of athletes who have clean & jerked triple their bodyweight.
To our knowledge, only a handful of people have ever achieved this mindblowing feat — and one of them had his lift rescinded for doping. (More on that below.)
1. Om Yun-Chol
The 5 foot tall, -56kg North Korean weightlifter first hit a triple bodyweight clean & jerk at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, winning gold with a 168kg lift.
Since then, he’s lifted the same weight at the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships in 2014, he made 169 kilograms at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he made 170kg at the 2014 Asian Games, and he managed 171 kilograms at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships, which is the current World Record.
Oh, and he’s also cleaned 175kg.
2. Long Qingquan
The most recent addition to this list of athletes, the -56kg Chinese athlete made a 170kg clean & jerk at the Rio Olympic Games, earning him a gold medal and a world record total of 307kg.
Born in the sparsely populated Longshan County, meaning “dragon mountain,” Long also won a gold medal at the 2009 World Weightlifting Championships when he totaled 292kg.
3. Naim Süleymanoğlu
Earlier this year, Juggernaut Strength Training Systems called Turkish weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu’s performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics as the second most impressive feat of strength of all time. (Read our article to see who came first.)
It’s not hard to see why. The 21-year-old lifted more than anyone else on this list, completing an astonishing clean & jerk of 190 kilograms in the 60kg weight class, over 3.15 times his bodyweight — a lift that would have also earned him the gold medal in the weight class above him. He went on to win gold at the next two Olympic Games and at five separate World Weightlifting Championships between 1989 and 1995, and during his career he clean & jerked triple his bodyweight at least eight times.
4. Halil Mutlu
The Bulgarian-born Turkish weightlifter has competed across several different weight classes, and won the World Weightlifting Championships five times between 1994 and 2003.
We could only find footage of his 165kg lift from 1999, but he first clean & jerked triple his bodyweight at the 2001 World Weightlifting Championships in Trenčín, Slovakia, when he lifted 168kg in the -56kg weight class. He managed the same lift in the same weight class two years later at the European Weightlifting Championships in Loutraki, Greece.
5. Neno Terziyski
We couldn’t find any footage of the actual clean, but this video shows the Bulgarian weightlifter’s jerk at the 1987 World Weightlifting Championships in Czechoslovakia. The 23-year-old successfully lifted 171 kilograms in the 56kg weight class, well over three times his bodyweight.
At this stage of his career, Terziyski had been winning gold medals in the World Championships, European Championships, and Bulgarian Championships for years, and he largely stopped competing after 1988. He did, however, make his first and last appearance at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, where he came fourth in the -60kg class with a 295kg total.
6. Stefan Topurov
We saved the first for last — the Bulgarian weightlifter was the first man to ever clean & jerk three times his bodyweight in competition. The monumental lift took place at the 1983 World Weightlifting Championships in Moscow, where the 60kg athlete jerked 180kg, then a world record.
Despite this, he came in second behind Soviet athlete Yurik Sakisyan, who matched his total. But Topurov went on to exceed his record with a 182.5kg clean & jerk at the 1984 Friendship Games, an event held in the Soviet Union that many called a “counter-Olympic” event to make up for the fact that the USSR boycotted the Olympics that year.
We Almost Included…
This Bulgarian weightlifter won gold at the 1988 Summer Olympics in the 67.5kg weight class after making a clean & jerk of 202.5kg. However, he was disqualified after he tested positive for furosemide, a medication commonly used for treating high blood pressure but also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it may mask other drugs.
Long de Cheng
This is a tough one to assess. The 56kg athlete definitely made the 170kg clean and jerk (some sources report it as 171kg), but since it was in training, we’re not completely sure how much Long weighs, here. Different sources report his training weight as 58.5 kilograms or even 60 kilograms. In any case, this lift wasn’t made in competition, so we can’t be certain.
Regardless, Long’s recovery after the catch is one of the most impressive things we’ve seen.
Do you know any other athletes who have clean & jerked triple their bodyweight, even in training? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s note: This list originally omitted Long Qingquan’s lift at the Rio Olympics. Thanks to Stephane Blake Tan for the addition!
Featured image via Samet Yılmaz on YouTube.